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Foundation for Financial Planning Welcomes Six New Trustees

Foundation for Financial Planning Welcomes Six New Trustees

744 511 FFP

Foundation for Financial Planning Welcomes Six New Trustees

Globe Newswire, February 8, 2023: Kalita Blessing, Gabriel Garcia, Erica James, Rohit Mahna, Kristin Pugh, and Hussain Zaidi join FFP Board of Trustees

WASHINGTON, D.C.: February 8, 2023 – The Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP), the nation’s leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding access to pro bono financial planning for people in crisis or need, today announced that six new members will join its Board of Trustees in 2023:

  • Kalita Blessing, CFP®, CAP®, AEP®, CSRIC, Senior Wealth Advisor, Mercer Advisors
  • Gabriel Garcia, Managing Director, RIA Client Experience, Business Development and Strategy, SEI®
  • Erica James, CFP®, CPA, Wealth Advisor, Signify Wealth
  • Rohit Mahna, Head of Client Growth, Fidelity Institutional Wealth Management Services
  • Kristin Pugh, CFP®, Private Wealth Manager, Creative Planning
  • Hussain Zaidi, CFP®, Founder and CEO, Budge

“FFP is committed to bringing in new and different perspectives to help guide our work and expand our impact, and we are delighted to welcome this outstanding group of leaders to our board,” said Jon Dauphiné, FFP’s Chief Executive Officer. “We’re excited about the diversity and breadth of experience our new board members bring to FFP, as well as their passion for making pro bono financial planning accessible to more Americans.”

Each of the following new FFP trustees will serve a three-year term starting in January 2023:

Kalita Blessing, CFP®, CAP®, AEP®, CSRIC is a Senior Wealth Manager at Mercer Advisors. Previously, she was a principal at Quest Capital Management. She joined Quest in 1993 and was named partner in 1999. She has over 20 years of experience helping families manage and preserve their wealth, as well as meet their philanthropic goals to maximize impact in the community at large. A fifth-generation Texan and Dallas native, Kalita is an active member of professional and civic organizations in Dallas and shares her passion for giving back through philanthropy with her clients. To enhance her knowledge of charitable giving, Kalita participated in the first Dallas pilot program for Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP™), which provided a vigorous curriculum of education in philanthropic planning. Kalita co-founded the Women’s Leadership Alliance (WLA) six years ago and serves as President of the nonprofit. The mission of the WLA is to attract, develop, and engage the next generation of leading women advisors.

Gabriel Garcia leads the client experience, business development, and strategy efforts focused on registered investment advisors (RIAs) for SEI’s independent advisor business. His 30-year career reflects a focus on helping RIAs develop and grow their practices into enduring firms, and on designing technology solutions that meet the needs of an evolving RIA community. Gabe has held leadership positions in business consulting, sales and relationship management, and executive management roles with Schwab, BNY Mellon’s Pershing, and E*TRADE Advisor Services. He also was Head of Corporate Development for Cresset Capital and has been a frequent speaker at industry and national conferences. Gabriel earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Radford University, holds several professional licenses, and completed the Securities Industry Institute at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Erica James, CFP®, CPA is a Wealth Advisor at Signify Wealth, a St. Louis firm committed to helping clients make their lives and their wealth matter. Previously, she was a Financial Planner at SBSB Financial Advisors and Creative Planning. She began her career as an accountant at PwC and has more than 10 years of experience in audit, tax, and non-profit accounting. Her unique skillset and passion for helping others led her to complete Georgetown University’s financial planning certificate program and obtain her CFP®. Erica is committed to making financial planning accessible to as many people as possible, including future planners and clients.  She serves as a financial mentor working one-on-one with individuals to address their immediate needs and educate them on all things personal finance. She was the 2021/2022 Co-Chair for the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®)’s NexGen Gathering. In 2022, her contributions to the community and leadership in the industry landed her on the InvestmentNews 40 under 40 list of honorees. Erica is a proud alumna of Washington University in St. Louis where she earned her Bachelor of Science in accounting with a minor in Spanish.

Rohit Mahna is head of Client Growth at Fidelity Institutional Wealth Management Services (FIWMS), the Fidelity Investments business that offers financial professionals and institutions access to the investment, technology, and platform solutions they need to service their clients and grow their businesses. Fidelity Investments is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing, and other financial products and services to institutions, financial intermediaries, and individuals. In this role, Rohit leads the FIWMS Client Relationship Group, comprised of sales and relationship management teams that are responsible for building and maintaining relationships with wealth management firms and institutions, understanding their business objectives, and delivering the best of Fidelity to help them grow their businesses. Before joining Fidelity, Rohit spent more than 10 years at Salesforce where he was most recently senior vice president and general manager of Global Financial Services, responsible for product, marketing, partners, industry expertise, and overall go-to-market strategy. Rohit was instrumental in the vision and development of Salesforce’s Financial Services Cloud, the company’s first industry-specific application. Rohit has over 20 years of experience in financial services, previously leading global development of IBM’s financial services industry solutions for business analytics and overseeing the industry marketing team. He got his start in financial services at TD Waterhouse. Rohit earned his Bachelor of Science in business and economics from Lehigh University.

Kristin Pugh, CFP® serves as a Private Wealth Manager at Creative Planning, working directly with her clients to create and maintain customized financial plans addressing all aspects of a healthy financial life including investments, tax planning, risk management, retirement, employee benefits and estate planning. Kristin brings to her clients more than 17 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Creative Planning, she worked for an independent investment advisory firm as a Senior Wealth Advisor. Kristin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Finance from Florida State University where she graduated with honors, later earning her CFP® professional designation. Kristin is passionate about providing financial education to her community. As a former Director of Community Outreach and Pro Bono Planning for the Georgia chapter of the FPA®, Kristin regularly volunteers and helps organize events and finds joy in counseling Metro Atlanta and surrounding communities’ citizens on financial matters. Kristin also chaired the Pro Bono Advisory Committee of the National FPA® for the last several years. Kristin was recognized for her community efforts in 2020 with the Daily Point of Light Award from the Points of Light organization.

Hussain Zaidi, CFP® is the Founder & CEO of Budge. Budge unlocks the power of payroll by automating paycheck savings to the financial goals that everyday Americans stress about: covering unexpected expenses and managing suffocating debt. Hussain started his wealth management career as a client-facing financial advisor and specialized in comprehensive financial planning for the mass affluent client. Frustrated with the inability to offer the same quality service to his mass retail clients who had few investable assets, he attended Columbia Business School and subsequently launched Advizr with the mission to “turbo-tax” the financial planning process for clients who were underserved. After raising capital from VCs and major financial services companies, the Advizr team scaled the offering to thousands of RIAs and well-known Fortune 500 companies. In 2019, Advizr was acquired by Orion Advisor Services, a premier portfolio accounting fintech. Hussain has served as a pro bono advisor volunteer for one of the Foundation for Financial Planning’s grantees in Brooklyn, NY; and he also provides FFP with his technological expertise on a pro bono basis.

About the Foundation for Financial Planning 

Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP) is the nation’s leading charity dedicated to advancing pro bono financial planning for at-risk populations, including active military members and wounded veterans, people with cancer and other serious medical diagnoses, seniors and family caregivers, low-income individuals and their families, domestic violence survivors and many more. Over its more than 25 years, FFP has provided $9 million in grants to national and community-based pro bono programs; worked with partners to activate more than 24,000 financial planners to volunteer their time and talents; reached over 600,000 people in crisis or need; and acted as a leader and catalyst to foster a rich tradition of pro bono service across the financial planning profession. Visit to learn more.

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